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Pastors; Does Your Home Look Like A Parsonage?
Growing up as a pastor's kid, and now pastoring for 23 years; I find myself when I drive by a church I look for it's parsonage. I basically lived in one majority of my life. Some were connected to the church itself, many were right next door. Only a few (like the one presently I live in) are a bit of a distance away. There are of course pro's and con's living right next door to the church. Quite frankly, mostly con's. Privacy being the #1 reason why!
Yet, when we answer the 'CALL' and become our current congregation's Pastor; we surrender our lives to be servants for others. Does our HOME look like a parsonage? Better asked; do our home's feel like a parsonage?
There is no deep meaning of the word (parsonage); it's a residence of a clergy member provided by the local church. IT'S NOT OUR, house; but it is OUR HOME. Now, "HOME (like they say) is where the heart is." Speaking of OUR HEARTS; are they at home? With your spouse and children? With your Lord? Can we come into our parsonages, and feel at rest; coupled with great peace and joy? I sure hope so!
Yet, if we cannot find serenity within our own homes; then I must say; truly it does NOT feel like a parsonage. Our doors have opened to several who struggle with difficult matters in their lives. They walk in the door, sometimes in a panic crying or angry. Yet, when they sit down; we see God's Peace start to rest on them. Many have told us, there is so much peace in this house. The blessing is that we can tell them why. For it's our hearts desire for lives to be transformed and go back to their own residence and make a HOME that is God Centered.
Keeping the lawn mowed, maybe plant some flowers, paint the shutters and trim the weeds is all nice and good. It can make the Parsonage appear as liturgical as can be. But, if God's Presence isn't a part of the family life within this building; appearances can be deceiving! I must say, I have followed pastors that the appearance was there; but the Godly home life wasn't. Being in the ministry my entire life, this breaks my heart.
One thing, for the life of the pastor's themselves; they have missed the 'mark' in being Whom God called them to be. This includes for them having a deep peace & joy within their own families. PEOPLE MUST SEE JESUS, (within our homes): "... Sir, we would see Jesus." Jn. 12:20 Seeing Him, we FEEL Him: His peace, love, strength, and even hope. We must be Jesus to our own family and then our family Be Christ like to others as they come into our homes.
Secondly, people within the congregation seem to loose a trust in pastors. There is not a closeness with the people within & without the church. So many also retain the wrong idea of pastors when God's rich presence isn't felt within the parsonage. When we (my husband & I) have followed this, it takes us years for many to see that God's anointed can have a loving, peaceful home (filled with the preciousness of the Holy Spirit).
If you want to start somewhere, or do a 'stop' and re-evaluate your ministry where you are; ALWAYS...ALWAYS start at home! With this method; setting your priorities in the manner of 'family/home' first; you will find no matter what comes your way - 'You'll not be shaken!'
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:" Matt. 7:24